Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Runner in Real Life: Jury Duty

This week I had jury duty. I was kind of looking forward to a day in downtown Chicago, even if it meant being bored out of my mind. Sometimes, you need that kind of a day, a break in your everyday routine.

I settled into the jury room at the Daley Center downtown, prepared for a day of catching up on blogging, but it wasn't long before I was called to a courtroom, where the judge described the case we would be interviewed for. It was a medical malpractice case, with 2 defendants, the doctor and the hospital. The hospital is owned by the company who employs me. The judge told us that the trial would take about 2 weeks.

I settled back into my seat, thinking that there was no way I'd be picked. I was on easy street and I'd be home by 5 and back to work tomorrow.

Then I was called to the jury box to be interviewed. (cue the ominous music)



I don't think I've ever been so surprised by anything, and I mean anything in my life as I was when I was one of the first 4 jurors chosen to sit on the jury. Initially, as I sat in the jury box, I answered the questions calmly and honestly, thinking to myself, this is a piece of cake. They aren't going to pick me, right? 

Who picks a nurse practitioner to sit on the jury of a medical malpractice case? 

Even better, who picks a nurse practitioner who works for the company named in the lawsuit to sit on the jury?

After the questioning of the 14 of us potential jurors was done, the judge and the lawyers retired to the chambers to discuss the jury selection. When the judge returned, she excused 10 people. I did not hear my name. Yes, I was one of the initial 4 chosen for the jury. I didn't believe it and I felt like I was either going to cry or vomit. It's not that I was upset. I was stunned. 

We received our instructions for the remainder of the trial and before I made the trek back to the train station, I took my shocked self to the Christkindlmarkt conveniently located in the plaza adjacent to the courthouse. I ordered myself a gluhwein and went outside to drink it and soak in the festive atmosphere. I walked around and looked at all the cute little booths and their wares. The wine didn't relax me like I had hoped. I couldn't focus, so I headed home.

Yes, that's the Picasso behind me.
My head was swirling with logistics. Of course, the first item on my list was, would I be able to squeeze in a run before I had to head back downtown in the morning? I texted my CrossFit Coaches to let them know that I'd be out of commission for the next 10 days. I texted my office manager to let her know to reschedule my patients. My husband. My family. Christmas shopping? Looks like it was going to be gift cards or German trinkets from the Christkindlmarkt for everyone! Once I sorted everything out, I set my alarm for 5 am and went to bed. I had trouble sleeping and tossed and turned for most of the night. 

If I ever needed a run, it was the pre-dawn 4 miler I did the next morning. The cool, crisp, clear morning helped me put my head right again. The moon was no longer full, but its bright light guided my run. I watched the sky change colors as the sun began to rise. It was a really nice way to set the tone for the day. Feeling much calmer, I finished up my morning prep, boarded the train, and walked back to the courthouse, ready for the task ahead.


The jurors gathered in the jury room and the deputy ran through the day's routine with us. We all started to get to know each other. My fellow jurors seemed like a nice group of people and I was looking forward to working with them. We were summoned to the jury box and the judge addressed us.

We were informed that the case had been settled and that our services were no longer needed. 

What? Come on man! After rearranging my whole life? I won't lie, I was disappointed. I was actually looking forward to the experience of serving on a jury for a medical malpractice case. This was something I could really sink my teeth into!

After being excused, we returned to the jury room and the judge came in to speak with us and answer our questions. She was great. She told us all about the case and the award both sides agreed upon. It wasn't outrageous. Upon hearing more about the case, it became pretty clear-cut to me that the outcome of the patient was not due to medical negligence. When I talked after with the lawyers for the defense, they told me they were hoping I would think that. Obviously, my employer wanted me on the jury. The attorney for the plaintiff told me he was reluctant to pick me because of my background and affiliation but that my answers led him to believe I could be fair.

I believe that I could have been fair as well.

That day, I left the courtroom feeling that jury duty wasn't something to be feared, but something that could be a really rewarding experience. I wasn't ready to go home, though. How often do I get a free day downtown?

I walked the few blocks from Daley Plaza to Millennium Park. The sky was a brilliant blue and it was early enough that I doubted the Bean (aka Cloud Gate) would be jammed with tourists. I rarely am in this park unless I'm in the city for a race. I liked playing tourist and hung out for a while, enjoying the beautiful day and watching everyone taking pictures of this really cool structure. I watched the Zamboni cleaning the ice on the ice rink below the Bean. It made me think of that scene in Shameless when Frank and Lip went skating there, drunk, Lip vomiting and Frank..well, I didn't want to think about that anymore.

I turned back around and stood in front of the Bean. I kept waiting for this couple to move but they weren't going anywhere, so I kicked up into my handstand--yes, wearing my Danskos-- praying that I wouldn't fall on my head. I was surprised by my strength--although I didn't hold it for more than a few seconds. The strength I found in that pose helped me melt away any remaining anxiety.

My "woo hoo, we were dismissed from jury duty" handstand.
Reluctantly, I headed back to the train station, back to real life. On the way home I texted everyone to let them know I was back in the game. At least I didn't have to reschedule my hair coloring appointment for Thursday. Silver lining...

This week was just full of surprises for me. Have you ever had a period of time when nothing seemed to turn out the way you expected? I keep thinking it's the supermoon. Man, I'm exhausted! 

I'm linking up this post with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap.




52 comments :

  1. Wow! That is crazy after rescheduling everything they settled.
    I am surprised they picked you, usually they seem to eliminate anyone with "inside knowledge". I am never picked because I am married to law enforcement. I have not been called in years though.
    The handstand is impressive :)

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    1. I was pretty shocked too! I'm glad I had the opportunity to talk with the lawyers after! Such a fascinating process!

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  2. I'm so surprised they picked you--because your are an APN but especially because you work for the company. That just seems like a conflict of interest. Strange. Your handstand cracks me up. That couples seems oblivious!

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    1. You would think--but I'm glad I got to experience it.

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  3. This reminds me of when I got picked to sit on a jury a few years ago! I was so sure I would be at jury duty for a few hours and get to go home and carry on with my life. I was shocked when I was chosen for a case which interrupted everything else I had to do. Plus it was Feb. and we were constantly delayed due to weather, and I ended up being on the jury for 2 weeks. Each day I never knew what to expect. It was so weird being away from work that long and not knowing when I would be back! The only nice thing was I was marathon training at the time and didnt have to be at court until 9:30 each day, which gave me extra time to run in the morning (I usually had to be at work by 8). Luckily I was living in the city and the courthouse was just a 20 minute walk away.

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    1. Did you have a good experience (besides your whole life being interrupted)? I was really starting to get into it. It was such a huge thing to be a part of.

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  4. I got called out for jury duty once and just ended up sitting in a waiting room for about 4 hours and then being dismissed. I think it must be hard to find really unbiased jury members. Everyone has some history that influences them. I bet if you really wanted to be on a jury you could volunteer yourself! :)

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    1. Ha! No, I need to let other people take their turn...

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  5. I have served on several juries. I'm almost always picked -- but not the last time. And I hate it with a passion, quite frankly (drug dealers. wife beaters. drunk drivers).

    It's not at all unusual for a case to be settled once the jury's picked. That happened to me once, too.

    I am SHOCKED you were picked though!

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    1. I wouldn't mind serving on another civil case but I would mind being picked for a criminal case. Living where I do, the criminal cases are quite dramatic and I don't want to be a part of that.

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  6. I’m surprised you were picked too. It must be that honest face. 😝 I actually enjoy jury duty, and I’ve been on a few over the years, but these days I don’t get paid unless I work, so I try to get out when I can. Around here they call us every year, but you just have to call in to see if you’re needed, which is better than hanging around for a week. And if you do have to go in, if you don’t get selected for a jury you’re done for the year.

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    1. Haha! The plaintiff's attorney liked my answers. My work does pay for jury duty, so that's a plus.

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  7. That's just so interesting! After having worked for a insurance defense lawyer, I would have been really surprised if that went to trial! But, it is frustrating that you made all those arrangements and cleared your schedule only to find out it was for nothing. That's also cool that you were able to ask questions and get them answered. I'm not sure (because I've only been called once and wasn't picked) if that happens in criminal (ie. theft, drugs, firearms, etc) trials.

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    1. After learning the details of the case, I was surprised it went to trial as well. I'm actually surprised it was settled. I think they would have lost, unless there were some details that we needed to know.

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  8. A good friend is a prosecutor and I was thinking that the defendant would settle after the jury was chosen - he says that's pretty common, like they suddenly realize that sh*t's getting REAL. That said, I have jury duty this coming Tuesday! I hope I get picked, but it's never happened so far, and even if it did, I bet I'd end up like you - dismissed.

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    1. I couldn't help but think, hey buddy, thanks for interrupting all our lives! But that's how it goes.

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  9. That stinks you were not selected. I never had to serve on jury duty. I swear you can never get a pic in front of that bean by yourself. I tried so hard when I was there once and never could either.

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    1. Actually, I WAS selected. They settled the case and we were dismissed.

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  10. Jury duty. UGH. My first experience with jury duty happened one week after starting a new job...and (of course) I got chosen for the jury. A week later, I had to essentially relearn everything for my new job. Then, I got summoned a couple weeks later...and got chosen again! I tried to be argumentative when they interviewed me, but apparently my charm won them over LOL

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    1. Here we can only be called once per year. I did learn that it does no good to argue or say things you think will get you dismissed. The attorneys and judge can see through all of that.

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  11. That kind of sucks that you got dismissed without hearing the case. I was picked for a jury once but they called it a mistrial about 5 minutes in. Just like in your case, the judge was amazing. He came in to the chamber and explained what had happened and why the case was dismissed for the day (they had to go back with a new jury). It was quite interesting though! Glad you had some time to go enjoy the city!

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    1. I loved that the judge came in and talked with us. I learned a lot that day!

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  12. Can you believe I've never been called for jury duty? Well, once, when I was on maternity leave and they took me off the rolls -- maybe they forgot to put me back on? My husb has been called several times. Interesting that the plaintiff kept you on. Don't you just hate it when people won't get out of your photos? #bloggerprobs ;-)

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    1. The judge told us that lawyers do get picked to serve. Same with nurse and doctors. And there you go...

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  13. I'm really surprised the defendant's attorney was willing to have you on the jury. It would have been fascinating, I bet.

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  14. girl it is sooooo the supermoon!!!
    and I was almost afraid to read this as Ive never been called.
    yet.
    for now.
    but maybe now?
    (((averts eyes again)))

    xo

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    1. Can you believe that was the original title of this post? LOL!

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  15. I was picked for a case once but it only took a couple of days. I was not picked for the murder case that was also going through jury selection (thankfully) but can't remember for the life of me what case I was assigned to. I think it's fun to play tourist in your own city. Amazing handstand. Thanks for linking!

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    1. I don't think I'd like to serve on a jury for a criminal case--kind of unnerving.

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  16. I'm glad that the case was settles and that you didn't have to spend two weeks sitting on the jury! I've never been selected for a jury duty case and I'm actually super happy about that lol!

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    1. I wouldn't have minded, since I had everything all rearranged. But it was nice to go back to my life.

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  17. Oh man what a bummer and a gift all in one. Sorry you didn't get to serve on the jury after rearranging your life for two weeks, glad you got a nice sunny day in Chicago! Awesome handstand!

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    1. Getting dismissed was kind of a mixed blessing!

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  18. I only served on a jury once years ago when I lived in Philly... it's such an interesting experience. Glad you don't have to reschedule your whole life now, especially with all the holiday prep!

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    1. It would have been better a different time of year. Maybe January or February? Ha!

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  19. I've had jury duty twice, but didn't get picked either time (whew!). I'm one of those that dread jury duty and give answers so I won't get picked. I was super busy both times, and being picked would've added to my stress level.

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    1. I used to dread it but after this--not so much.

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  20. Wow, that's so surprising they chose you for the jury with your background and the employer issue! And then to find out it was settled... lots of ups and downs. But it sounds like you made good use of your time down town :)

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    1. I love going into the city, so it's always a win. Two weeks in a row may have been a bit much...

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  21. I'm so surprised you were picked! I think it's pretty cool you got to speak with the judge and lawyers after the case was settled. Love that you broke out a handstand in front of the Bean :)

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  22. I would be in the same boat as you -- well, not the rearranging part. But the annoyance of the rearranging, and then being annoyed I was dismissed after all the rearranging! Lol. But cool bean shot! ;)

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  23. C'mon man!!!! I swear I've been saying that about EVERYTHING thanks to you! ;) And I love that you kicked up in handstand in front of the couple. The guy is like wtf?!?!

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    1. They were just waiting for me to fall on my head. And me in my Danskos. don't fall, don't fall...

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  24. I once got called for jury duty three times in two years. I was able to defer twice, but they were so persistent. When I finally showed up (I had to travel home from college), they dismissed me after 12 minutes! Gah!

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    1. Oh that's the worst! I've asked for deferrals many times and have gotten them.

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  25. I've always thought it'd be very cool to serve on a jury. I used to get called all the time when I lived in Meridian but never even made it to the questioning phase. Once I was called to federal jury duty which would have been a two hour drive and I had a one week old infant...needless to say, I was excused from that one.

    Maybe you'll get another chance one day! Btw... awesome hand-stand lady!

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    1. Those Federal trials are usually long! That's the issue with jury duty. It really interrupts your life!

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  26. Wow! What a story. I was just getting settled in, thinking how time flies because it seemed like you just announced you would be out of commission for a bit due to jury duty. I'm glad I kept reading to find out that I wasn't in my time warp and that you were dismissed early. Phew.

    Love the handstand! What was that couple doing? They just seemed to be standing around. lol

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    1. They would not move. I don't know what they were doing but couldn't they see I needed my space? :p

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